Minnesota squeezed out a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to top Nebraska 4-3 and regain first place in the Big Ten Saturday afternoon at Siebert Field.
Gopher Ryan Abrahamson singled, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and scored when pinch hitter Mark Tetera lifted a bloop single off NU reliever Josh Roeder in the eighth.
“That one is on me,” said Husker coach Darin Erstad. “We shouldn’t have pitched to him. We should have walked him, and that’s on me.”
The Gophers committed three errors in the first inning and the Huskers scored a pair of runs, with just a single by Pat Kelly the only hit.
Minnesota (29-16, 12-5 in Big Ten) scored a run in the second when Abrahamson doubled and eventually scored on a passed ball.
The Gophers took the lead in the third when Kurt Schlanger doubled in a pair of runs.
Nebraska (22-26, 13-7) tied the game in the fourth inning when Blake Headley was hit by a pitch and scored on a triple by Austin Darby, who was stranded at third. The Huskers threatened to score in the fifth when Michael Pritchard singled and advanced on a single by Chad Christensen. But Pritchard was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.
NU got two on with one out in the seventh, but Minnesota reliever Dalton Sawyer got the final out and breezed through the remainder of the Husker order in the eighth and ninth — striking out the side in the final inning.
NU left-hander Kyle Kubat, who was unbeaten in his first four starts this season, did not earn a decision, allowing seven hits and two earned runs through six innings. Husker reliever Luke Bublitz took the loss, allowing one hit in two-thirds of an inning.
“We made too many mental mistakes,” Erstad said. “We missed a hit-and-run, didn’t get a bunt down. It didn’t feel like we were in control of our game like yesterday (a 6-0 NU win).”
Darby broke out of a slump with three hits, including a triple, for the Huskers, while Pritchard collected a pair of hits.
The two teams meet in the series finale Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
The Huskers return to Nebraska to face Creighton on Tuesday night at TD Ameritrade Park before hosting to Michigan in their final regular-season series at Haymarket Park starting Thursday.
MINNESOTA 4, NEBRASKA 3
|Sanguinetti cf||4||1||0||0||Schaefbauer 2b||3||1||1||0|
|Kelly 2b||4||1||1||0||Schlangen rf||3||0||2||2|
|Pritchard dh||4||0||2||0||Henkemeyer lf||3||0||0||0|
|Christensen lf||4||0||1||0||Abrahamson 3b||4||2||2||0|
|Kalkowski 1b||3||0||0||1||Olinger 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Headley 3b||2||1||0||1||LaShomb dh||3||0||0||0|
|Peters ss||4||0||0||0||Tatera dh||1||0||1||1|
|Darby rf||4||0||3||1||Handel ss||3||0||1||0|
|Fish c||3||0||0||0||Halloran c||4||1||2||0|
|Scheffert ph||1||0||0||0||Larson cf||4||0||0||0|
E--Schaefbauer (1), Abrahamson (12), Olinger (8). DP--Minnesota 1. LOB--Nebraska 7, Minnesota 8. 2B--Schlangen (4), Abrahamson (13). 3B--Darby (2). SH--Henkemeyer (2), Olinger (3). SF--Headley (2). CS--Darby (5).
|Bublitz L (2-1)||0.2||1||1||1||0||0|
|Sawyer W (2-2)||2.1||0||0||0||1||4|
WP--Kubat (4); Crawford (1). PB--Fish (5). T--2:33. A--1,064.